EMRs won’t prevent the spread of Ebola (or the next scary outbreak)

about-ebolaAccording to IBM, there are 2.5 exabytes of data created every day, and most of it is unstructured. Imagine receiving all the words ever spoken by human beings on your doorstep each and every day. Now, imagine consuming that, making sense of it and trying to keep up with the ever-accelerating pace of data creation each day.

As a physician, I experienced firsthand the angst that comes with trying to keep up with even a very specialized scope of expertise. Thanks to the overwhelming quantity of peer-reviewed publications and practice guideline updates that only increase each year, we are long past the time when a clinician could possibly keep up with all the advancements in their own practice area, let alone those of adjacent areas of medicine or the latest public health concerns on a global scale.

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Looking to 2014: Taking Healthcare to Task

2014-predictions-300x300All the mainstream chatter and media coverage around healthcare this year covers up the fact that there is little real action and few success stories to point to. Expect 2014 to be the year that the industry gets taken to task on several key issues:

  • On risk – The big headline is going to be the relative lack of traction for risk-based models. For all the talk about the benefits, the incentive is still in place for hospital systems to continue to leverage or create structural advantage in marketplaces – allowing them to pass along rates to payers and protect margins. This shift in models will not happen until hospitals and health systems have maxed out their OPEX savings and consumers are outraged enough with insurance costs to run to Kaiser-like models. Continue reading

Old is the New “New” – Engaging Physicians Through Mobility

ImageAs incentives increasingly align between physicians and hospitals for value-based care delivery, health system CMOs face an interesting challenge. The last one to two decades witnessed an extraordinary push to hyper-specialization and compartmentalization of care.

Physicians migrated from round-the-clock response to their personal patients to team call coverage models, and patients were handed over to hospitalists when admitted. Drivers for this shift included financial, efficiency, lifestyle and quality factors. Now, risk-based models are aligning incentives for greater care continuity by physicians for their patients both in and out of the hospital. In many ways, CMOs are asking for an old school approach to meet quality and cost goals. Providing innovative tools can help achieve this – systems can engage physicians for greater continuity while protecting lifestyle and workflow preferences, and mobility solutions will play a key role. Continue reading

Mobility in Cardiovascular Services – Beyond Mobile ECGs

Lebenszeichen_chiemgaukicerHealth systems are facing several pressures based on the current and projected state of cardiovascular services. Growth is declining and reimbursement trends will squeeze margins of a service line that most health systems depend on for survival. Maintaining competitive advantage in capturing a larger share of a shrinking pie as well as in driving next generation cost efficiency will require care pathway innovation. Thoughtful application of mobile technology can enable this innovation, and for many reasons the cardiovascular service line is particularly well suited for mobility.

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Taking the Pulse of Cardiovascular Services

Measuring blood pressureMobility is making an impact on cardiovascular services – ranging from expedited STEMI care pathways to readmission reductions for congestive heart failure (CHF) and intermittent dysrhythmias. Taking a step back to reflect on the state of the cardiovascular service line at large illustrates some key pressures that health systems are experiencing and why mobile technology solutions are taking off in this area. Continue reading

Is Technology Turning Hospitals Into MD Machines?

doctor-ipadMany of my fellow clinicians see the ongoing health IT movement as a hindrance to the quality of care they are able to provide their patients. When they hear all this talk about “automation,” “streamlining efficiency,” and “mobilizing data,” it can seem that technology is replacing the human side of compassionate patient care with an assembly line that churns out procedures. Some clinicians see mobile technologies pulling them away from the bedside and turning patients into data points. But, if a hospital takes the right approach to this process change, that’s simply not the case. In fact, clinicians should find the exact opposite to be true as these solutions fulfill the promise of becoming a true mobile assistant – always there to improve workflow anytime, anywhere.

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Making it Real: A Physician’s Pathway to Clinical Transformation

PathwayEveryone in the industry would likely agree that “clinical” or “care transformation” has been a popular buzz-term for the past several years. Most also agree that interoperability barriers and data silos need to be broken down to achieve it. But there are several issues that are critical to improve the way physicians work before hospitals and health systems will see the kind of transformational change that’s necessary to make the most of technology enhancers while preserving the human element of patient care. Continue reading

When to Go ACO

CaduceusShadowI’ve traveled around and seen market after market and spoken with a range of health system leaders who are committed to participating in an accountable care organization (ACO) because they believe they have to. When looking at the facts – the structure of those markets, the health system’s share, the payer dynamics, and the overall economics – the runway to value-based models is often longer than they realize. As many systems that performed well in the past year as the result of aggressive cost containment will tell you, there is still a place for maximizing margin with traditional approaches. And this is important not because it will last forever, but because systems will need to fund the transition to the inevitable. Continue reading

The Key to Patient Accountability? Show Them the Money (And Where it Goes)

money_healthThe ultimate cure to the perversions inherent in U.S. health system economics is cracking the risk code – optimizing the financial risk allocation for any given disease across payer, health system, physician and patient. After years of payer and more recently health system effort, the heat is increasing on doctors and patients. Despite vigorous effort on wellness and prevention, it’s fair to say the industry has so far missed the mark when it comes to enabling patients to take on more responsibility and risk related to their health care decisions. Payers and providers have an opportunity to make a more direct and immediate financial connection to each patient’s well-being – but must address three proximity challenges: data, money, and time. Continue reading